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Ruby Release! The Memory of You — Laurie Kellogg

Once upon a time . . . 

Oh, wait.  This isn’t a fairy tale.  This is a true story.  Here’s how it goes: 

One day, the husband of a woman in limbo drags her to a sales promotion.  The young salesman is personable, and they get to talking.  Somehow, the talk turns to the fact the woman in limbo has just helped another author get published.  The topic sets the young man off on a rant about his mom, her Golden Heart®, and the fact she still can’t find a publisher. 

The woman in limbo (who has a son about the same age) is touched by the young man’s outrage on his mom’s behalf and offers her services.  And that’s how a critique partnership and abiding friendship came to be. 

I was the woman in limbo  Events had trashed my faith in myself; my writing moldered while I helped others grab the brass ring. 

Laurie Kellogg is that lovely young man’s mother. 

In the beginning, I doubt either of us had any idea the impact her son’s unassailable belief in her talent would have on our lives.  But serendipity is what it is, so it’s with a full heart I announce the release of the book that earned Laurie her second Golden Heart,  

The Memory of You  

She can’t forget him

He can’t remember her

Together, they must discover the

healing power of unforgettable love

Second Lieutenant Matthew Foster was captured in Vietnam and mistakenly declared dead. Six years later, he’s finally released with the other POWs during Operation Homecoming. Unfortunately, his memory has been erased by the torture and emotional trauma he endured. Due to prior facial injuries and the beard concealing his gauntness, he looks nothing like the boyish photo in his military file. 

 When the Army informs Matt he has a wife, he’s sure Abby must have made a new life for herself. And he doubts the bitter man he’s become can salvage enough of the boy she once cared for. To be fair to her, he decides to simply write a note to wish her well and leave. But before he does, he can’t resist going to Redemption, PA, to catch a glimpse of the woman he’d loved enough to marry.  

 The irony of the small town’s name is totally eclipsed by Matt’s dread that he’ll discover he’s lost something truly worth remembering. That fear becomes reality when he learns Abby is engaged, and he’s a daddy! Luckily, his wife doesn’t recognize him, so Matt could still walk away from the beautiful stranger who’s been starring in his X-rated dreams. However, he could never, ever abandon his sons.  

The clock is ticking. Any day, the military will inform Abby he’s alive, and her wedding is in only six weeks. It doesn’t give Matt much time to discover if he can reclaim the love the war stole from him. 

GWYN:  Laurie, I’m so proud of you!!!  Today isn’t just Valentine’s Day, it also marks a major anniversary in your writing career.  Would you like to tell us about it? 

LAURIE:  This month, I’m celebrating my thirteenth year as a writer.  Yee-Haa!  Lucky 13. 

If anyone had told me I would win two RWA® Golden Heart awards, the PNWA® ZOLA® award, become a Romantic Times® American Title I finalist, and have been a GH finalist SEVEN times during those years without selling one of my novels, I probably never would have started writing. 

Thank God no one told me! 

Since I’m a diehard romantic, and my writing anniversary falls in February, it seemed fitting to publish the book of my heart on a day dedicated to true love and lovers. 

GWYN:  I’ve read The Memory of You several times in the course of its transformation.  Not only did it touch me on a deep and personal level, it managed to retain its poignancy, humor, and sexiness despite repeated reads.  What inspired you to write this compelling story? 

LAURIE:  Like many people my age, I wore a MIA/POW bracelet in high school and was deeply moved when the prisoners returned during Operation Homecoming in ’73.  I’ve always wondered what it must have been like for those brave men to return home after so long—some were captive and abused for NINE years.  Can you imagine?  Those who were fathers were strangers to their children and had missed watching them grow.  Many came home to discover their wives and sweethearts had moved on to other relationships.  Thinking about what those heroic men endured never fails to put a lump in my throat. 

GWYN: With the nation divided and the resulting vilification of returning vets, many would prefer to forget Vietnam ever happened.  Why did you set your story in such a painful period of American history? 

LAURIE:  Actually, The Memory of You is my third book.  I got so involved in the close relationship between the heroes of my first two novels, I felt compelled to tell the story of the man and woman who raised them.  However, while developing their dad, Matt, I realized he would have been a young man during the escalation of the Vietnam conflict. 

With that realization came another; I HAD to write a returning POW’s story and give him and the woman he loved a happy ending.  And so, The Memory of You (originally named Something Worth Remembering) was conceived to honor those who’ve sacrificed so much for our country. 

The story literally spilled out of me.  

GWYN:  And yet, you couldn’t find a publisher. 

LAURIE:  At my first national conference, the editor I pitched the story to actually broke down sobbing.  Seriously.  I’m not exaggerating.  She was as moved by the story as I was, but what really upset her was no publisher would consider a romance novel set in the Vietnam War era, since it fit neither the historical nor contemporary romance sub-genres.  So I rewrote it and set it in present day, hoping it would sell.  Unfortunately, the social mores had changed drastically, giving the story an old-fashioned tone which is, I believe, the reason it never sold despite its numerous awards. 

GWYN:  Even knowing publishing’s attitude about Vietnam era stories, you put it back to its original time frame.  Why? 

LAURIE:  I always felt I’d betrayed my baby.  For years I asserted to editors and agents that the romance genre was excluding a time rife with romantic conflict between men and women due to their changing roles in society.  I couldn’t understand the publishers’ resistance to a new sub-genre—Nostalgic Romance.  Therefore, with the decision to self-publish, came the freedom to tell the story as it was meant to be told. 

GWYN:  When we first met, you’d recently won the Golden Heart for a different story, A Little Bit of Dèjá Vu (Laurie’s next release), but had also entered The Memory of You so had two manuscripts nominated for the Golden Heart in the same category that year.  How strange was that?  And what made you re-enter The Memory of You in a later GH contest? 

LAURIE:  Having beaten myself, I couldn’t stand not knowing if The Memory of You, standing alone, could have won.  And it did. 

GWYN:  To pay tribute to the brave men who inspired this story, Laurie’s book will be available FREE to deployed soldiers who would like to download and read it.  If you know of someone who’s currently deployed and who might enjoy a Steamy, Heartwarming, Fun love story, have them e-mail Laurie at contact@LaurieKellogg.com  to receive a 100% OFF Smashwords Operation Book Drop coupon code.
 
As a thank you to everyone for visiting and helping Laurie celebrate her release today, she’s issued a special 50% OFF Smashwords Valentine coupon, making the book only $1.49—valid only through tomorrow 2/15.  Simply go to Smashwords and download whatever version you need and enter the coupon code CU53F
 
If you enjoy The Memory of You, please tell your friends about it and post some reviews on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, and Goodreads.com.  Laurie’s book is also being featured as the Book of the Day today at http://www.Iselfpub.com. Pop over and check it out! It’s a great site to find e-book deals. 
 
 LAURIE:  Since this is a nostalgic Yellow-Ribbon love story, a blast-from-the-past if you will, I’d like to invite readers to share their personal memories of the Vietnam War era.  For those too young to remember that time, feel free to share your experiences with returning vets of any era.

Laurie will also be giving away THREE copies of  The Memory of You to commenters, so be sure to leave a comment to enter the drawing.  (As always, guests only.  Ruby Sisters aren’t eligible.)

To read a full excerpt from The Memory of You, click here

For more information about Laurie and her books, please visit her website.

 

81 responses to “Ruby Release! The Memory of You — Laurie Kellogg”

  1. Elisa Beatty says:

    Oh, my goodness, Laurie–I can see why that editor broke down sobbing just hearing the gist of the story! Your blurb had me completely choked up!

    What a great concept. I have it on my Kindle now, and can’t wait to read it!!!!!

    I’m so happy you’ve gone this route, and know you’ll do amazingly well!

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    • laurie kellogg says:

      Thanks, Elisa! I still get a lump in my throat when I read the black moment in this story. AND I WROTE IT. I’ve edited about a zillion times in 13 years during which I usually ended up crying. Hope you enjoy the book.

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  2. Shoshana Brown says:

    Happy release day, Laurie! Can’t wait to read THE MEMORY OF YOU.

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  3. Congratulations on the release of The Memory of You, Laurie! I just know this story is going to resonate with so many readers.

    Happy Valentine’s Day to all!

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    • laurie kellogg says:

      I HOPE so, Vanessa. I’d really like to see the romance genre expand. I’d love to read more stories set during WWII, which we see very few, and some set during the Korean conflict. Think about how women must have felt during the post-WWII era when their husbands came home and and sent them back to the kitchen so they could have their jobs back.

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  4. Gillian says:

    I’m so happy for you, Laurie, and for all of us. We finally get to read this lovely story! It’s sitting happily on my Kindle, waiting for me to get to this weekend.

    I love the story of your “meet”, Gwyn. It’s strange how life works!

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    • laurie kellogg says:

      Meeting Gwyn is absolutely one of the best things that’s ever happened to me. Can you imagine how touched I was to discover my son was so outraged for me?

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    • Amen, Gillian. And the longer we know each other, the more parallels we seem to find. Some are downright freaky. I guess some things are just meant to be. 😉

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  5. laurie kellogg says:

    It seems the Smashwords server is down. Isn’t that just ducky! It was off-line all day yesterday too. So let’s cross our fingers they can get it back up fast today. The links to my excerpt and website seem to be broken also. I’ll get Gwyn to fix them later today. I don’t want to wake her.

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  6. Kathy Altman says:

    Yay, Laurie!! Many, many congratulations on the release of “The Memory of You”! And what an appropriate day it is. 🙂 As soon as I can access Smashwords I’ll have my very own copy, too! I’ve heard so many wonderful things about your work, and I’m so glad I’ll finally be able to experience it for myself. Very best wishes!

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    • laurie kellogg says:

      Thank you, Kathy. With any luck that will be very soon, . The fact that the Smashwords site was down all day yesterday doesn’t bode well for a quick recovery today.

      I’m afraid my book launch is going to be a dismal failure. The fact that it’s been advertised at 50% off at Smashwords and no one can buy it, probably means people won’t go anywhere else for it either because they’ll want the sale price. And I don’t blame them.

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  7. Laura says:

    Congrats on your release, Laurie! It sounds like an amazing story. I can’t wait to read it!

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  8. liz talley says:

    Oh, Laurie, I’m so excited for you…and the story sounds marvelous. For some reason, I thought it was set in modern times, and I kept thinking “How’s she gonna pull that one off?” It makes so much more sense to place it where it belongs. I personally love Vietnam stories, and I, too, can’t understand why publishers shy away from it. Afterall, Vietnam is the backdrop for so many great films and has a hotbed of conflict waiting to be leapt into.

    Congrats on your first book in readers hands. We’ve all known for a while now how enormously talented you are. Time to share with the rest of the world.

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  9. Jane Sevier says:

    Congratulations on releasing your book, Laurie! It takes guts to take the indie plunge. Here’s to a gazillion sales and a gazillion happy readers.

    Wahoo!

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    • laurie kellogg says:

      Thanks. Not just guts, Jane. Self-pubbing also involves a lot of sweat and hair-pulling. At the rate I’m going, I’m going to be bald by summer. 🙂

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  10. Lucas Mangum says:

    Congrats to my wonderful Mother-in-Law!

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    • laurie kellogg says:

      Thank you, my sweet SIL.

      See, everyone, this is why I’m so grateful to my daughter. She married a talented author who I could have something in common with. His work gives me the shivers, but if you love horror check out his Dark Dimensions Blog http://lucasmangum.wordpress.com/ where he reviews all things having to do with horror. Lucas also has a new release of an e-book coming up, so watch for that.

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  11. Kelley Bowen says:

    Laurie,
    Brains, courage and heart-that’s what it takes to self-publish-and you’ve done it!Congratulations. Here’s to a journey down the yellow brick (or might it be golden?) road to success!
    Many sales for your story.
    Kelley Bowen

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  12. Hope Ramsay says:

    Everyone needs to read this wonderful book. Laurie gave me a change to read it pre-publication, and I gotta tell you this is one wonderful story. I was traveling when I read it and ran into a long, tiresome delay. I was so glad I had such an engaging story to read — it made the hours pass by so quickly. Congratulations Laurie.

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  13. What a touching blurb! Thank you!

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    • laurie kellogg says:

      No, thank YOU, Barbara! The blurb is nothing compared to the actual story. It’s always frustrated me that I’ve never been able to convey in such few words the tears I shed while writing this hero and heroine or how much they made me laugh.

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  14. Lucy Francis says:

    Laurie, I’m so glad you released this book! So many amazing stories are left out in the cold by publishers simply because they don’t know what to do with the setting/time period.

    My dad served in Vietnam. The war seriously messed him up, and he never got to have his Happily Ever After. I bought your book as soon as I read the blurb, and I know I’ll cry all the way through it.

    Best wishes for tremendous success!

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    • laurie kellogg says:

      Thanks, Lucy. If your dad is involved with any Vietnam vet groups, ask him to let his friends’ wives know about the book.

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  15. Heidi Luchterhand says:

    Congratulations, Laurie!!!

    Like Hope, I’ve already read The Memory of You, and just thinking about the story brings tears to my eyes. I have a very dear friend whose husband was MIA during WWII, and then declared KIA without an actual body, and your heroine reminded me so much of my friend and her description of her suffering, not really knowing if her husband was dead or alive, or if she really had the right to move on with her life. Or not. It’s a nightmare most of us never have to face, thank goodness.

    What I enjoyed most about your book, however, was that you pulled off a heartwrenching storyline with humorous elements and a sexual tension that went hand-in-hand, naturally, with the characters’ emotions.

    And when I turned the last page? I still wanted more. Always the sign of a great book!

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    • laurie kellogg says:

      Thank you, Heidi. You’re an incredible proofreader and are a very talented writer. I wish your life would allow you more time to pursue your dreams. I want to hold one of your books in my hand.

      BTW, I got the proof on the paperback yesterday. It looks amazing! It felt so good to see my words printed and bound with my name emblazoned on the cover.

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      • Heidi Luchterhand says:

        From your lips to God’s ears.

        Most days, I feel as if there’s just not enough of me to go around. I’m choosing to think of it all as future book material for when my life settles down to mere hurricane status.

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      • Heidi Luchterhand says:

        And, PS, thanks for the compliments. You’re always so good for my ego!

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  16. Kate Parker says:

    As the wife of a Vietnam Vet, I can’t wait to read your book. Congrats on taking the indie plunge since traditional publishers haven’t figured out Vietnam is now part of history. And congrats on that son of yours being so proud of you.

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    • laurie kellogg says:

      Thanks, Kate. As the wife of a vet, let me know what you think. And I was tickled when Gwyn told me how upset my baby was.

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      • And he was upset, vehement in his belief publishing cut his mom a raw deal. As I say above, I thought him about my son’s age, so his anger for her really touched me. Turns out, he’s almost exactly six months younger. My son, on the other hand, came to DC expecting to see a lot of old women in housedresses. *sigh*

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  17. Congrats, Laurie. I can’t wait to read this story.

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  18. Diana Layne says:

    Laurie! This sounds fabulous! I’ll run buy it now! I know Calisa Rhose’s Scrimshaw Doll story, Home, is set in the Vietnam era and I loved it. I think we just needed a lot of years to separate us from the pain of that war, and all it entailed. But I think the time has come, congratulations and good luck! I hope The Memory of You is soon topping the charts!

    BTW, Gwyn, I’ve been that woman in limbo as well. Know exactly of which you speak, so glad you found Laurie, now get your stories out there!

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    • laurie kellogg says:

      Thanks, Diana. Let’s hope the universe is listening.

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    • Working on it, Diana. My books and voice are so very different from Laurie’s, we make Felix Unger and Oscar Madison look like soul-mates, so it’s truly amazing how well, and in how many ways, we complement each other.

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  19. laurie kellogg says:

    Thanks, Autumn. I hope you enjoy it.

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  20. Yay, Laurie!!! Happy release day!

    The book sounds wonderful, and so very poignant. But I also enjoyed reading your interview. How interesting that Gwynlyn got to read MEMORY OF YOU in its various stages of “transformation.” And I LOVE that you shared your persistence with us. You’ve got amazing talent to win all of those awards.

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    • laurie kellogg says:

      Thanks, Anne Marie. Actually, Gwyn only read the first three chapters (My GH entry) before I recently began revising to self-pub. I hadn’t touched the book in five years.

      What she meant by ‘various stages’ was she read the entire manuscript three times while editing and proofreading for me this past month. She did an amazing job as my editor, and was ruthless in cutting all the excess prepositions I’m so fond of using.

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      • Yep, and after reading it from start to finish several times in a short period, the fact I wasn’t gnashing my teeth and wailing, “Oh, no! Not AGAIN!!!” is a testament to the emotional impact of the story. I will stand the test of time–and repeat reads. 😉

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  21. June Love says:

    Laurie, I love the premise of your book. What happened in VietNam is a part of history and shouldn’t be swept under the rug in the publishing world. My cousin served in VietNam, and I still have the letters he wrote me. Because he was older than me, I never understood just how young he was at the time when he left. I do remember hold old he seemed when he came back. Much older than his actual years. The youthfulness of the soldiers is something that stabs at my heart. The soldier’s whose MIA bracelet I wore never returned.
    I’m looking forward to reading your book.

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    • laurie kellogg says:

      Neither did mine, June. I, like Abby my heroine, kept hoping until the day all the POWs came home. I hope you enjoy the story. It was really cathartic giving MY Soldier a happy ending.

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  22. Happy Release Day Laurie! So happy for you. The story sounds amazing. Will look for it. Big hugs!

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  23. Rita Henuber says:

    Hugs, squeals and happy dancing for you.The blurb is wonderful. Wishing you many many sales.

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    • laurie kellogg says:

      Thanks, Rita. I don’t know about those sales. With all the publicity I did over my 50%OFF Smashwords coupon and nobody being able to access the site doesn’t bode well for my book. I can’t imagine people going to Amazon or B&N when they know there’s a discount at SW.

      I contacted EVERYONE I knew with this code, and now I look like a fool. By the time SW gets back on line, I’m afraid my book is going to be out of sight out of mind.

      I can only pray the site comes back up soon. A few heel clicks from my Ruby Sisters wouldn’t hurt either.

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      • Diana Layne says:

        I bought it this morning with the code with no problem. Did you clean your cache and check again?

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        • It’s 10:30 P.M. and Smashwords still won’t let me on. I’ve cleared my cache, rebooted my computer, tried my hubbies computer, and have run a diagnostics on the Internet connection. The report came back saying my connection is fine and there’s something screwy with Smashwords. I think the Universe is just having a ball screwing with me today. I’m glad to hear other people can get on, though. This way I don’t look like a total fool by posting a code no one can use.

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      • Well, I got mine from Amazon. So I’m good. 😉

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  24. Ellyn Bache says:

    Laurie, I’m so proud of you for getting this work out there. Can’t wait to read it!

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    • laurie kellogg says:

      Thank you for coming, Ellyn. I hope you enjoy The Memory of You. Let me know when you’re going to be in the area again. I’d love to see you.

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  25. delia says:

    Congrats on your new book! I’m excited to read it as I haven’t read anything about the Vietnam era that wasn’t a history book or a memoir. I don’t have any memories to share from the Vietnam era (I turn 31 this year) but my grandfather served 2 tours there. He never talked about his time there. Even though he’s gone, the rest of the family doesn’t talk about that time of their life either. I guess those four years are just too painful to remember.

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    • laurie kellogg says:

      Oh, Delia, you’re making me feel so OLD. 🙂 I hope you enjoy the story. I think your generation will get a kick out of how different life was back then–when hitchhiking was a form of transportation for all young guys and you needed a phone booth to make a phone call.

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  26. What a great story of how you and Laurie became critique partners. Love it!

    Laurie, Happy Happy Release Day! So thrilled that you’re venturing into this new world of publishing with your books. I love that THE MEMORY OF YOU is set in Vietnam. I wish there were more books that took a chance on different time periods/settings. Can’t wait to read it. It sounds fab!

    Wishing you many many sales!

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  27. Vivi Andrews says:

    Congratulations, Laurie, on your release! I hope Nostalgic Romance catches on. I hate seeing any great stories being ignored because there isn’t an easy marketing place for them. Here’s hoping you make all those publishers who wouldn’t take a chance on this one cringe with your in-their-face success. Best wishes.

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    • laurie kellogg says:

      Thanks, Vivi.

      Susan Elizabeth Phillips quoted Julia Roberts during her Lifetime Achievement Award acceptance speech a few years back (saying to all the editors who rejected her in the early years) “BIG MISTAKE!”

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  28. Jean Mangum says:

    Congrats to my wonderful mother!!! I am so proud of you and I know this story will be a huge success! The book is not only witty, heart warming, and romantic but is also an easy read with realistic dialogue and interpersonal dynamics.

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    • laurie kellogg says:

      Hi Sweetie–
      Thank you for coming by. I know my book can’t fail with kids who have so much faith in me. I love you!

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  29. Congratulations on this wonderful book. The nostalgia of that time is both heart wrenching and heart warming for many of us. Thanks for your courage putting the feelings of those times into your story. I wish you greatest success with this!

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    • laurie kellogg says:

      Thanks, Chris! I really did spill my heart on this one. It’s why it had to be the first one I released. Good luck with your books too.

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  30. Congrats Laurie! I’ve always wished for more Romances set in this time period! I’m so excited for you!

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  31. Laurie, I started reading this and it is freaking fantastic!!!!! Love the writing. Love your characters. I think you have a winner, Ruby Sis. Way to go!!!!

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    • Thank you so much, Darynda. You were up late. I hope it was because you couldn’t put my book down. 🙂 Matt and Abby are really special to me. I just hope younger women (like my daughters age) will enjoy the blast-from-the-past humor. But if not, there’s plenty of old fogies out there who remember Woodstock and Watergate.

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  32. AND OUR WINNERS ARE:

    Laura

    Lucy Francis

    Christine Bush

    Thanks to all who stopped by to comment!

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  33. Laurie, you are an inspiration to us all. I just downloaded it. I love your cover, too! So happy to see your talent in print!!!

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  34. Amanda Brice says:

    I’m late to the party, as usual. (I was sick with strep on that day.)

    Major congrats, Laurie! Can’t wait to read it.

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  35. Thanks, Amanda. Don’t sweat it. I’m late ALL THE TIME. I didn’t see this post until almost two weeks later. 🙂

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